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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘report’

Report: Between 700 and 900 Immigrants Died at Sea Last week

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

“We will never know exact numbers” of drowned refugees fleeing the Middle East and East Africa for safe haven in Europe, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) tweeted Saturday, estimating that as many as 900 had died last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday that more than 700 had drowned.

According to Reuters, some 14,000 refugees have been rescued since last Monday, but there have been reports of at least three boats sinking. The number of dead is estimated based on survivor testimonies. These included Saturday interviews with immigrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, resulting in accounts of a large, motorless fishing boat that capsized on Thursday with a large crowd of women and children on board.

According to testimonies, when the boat capsized, 25 passengers swam to the towing boat, and as many as 90 others were saved by 3 boats with MSF rescue personnel. 15 bodies were recovered, which means that at least 550 died, according to the UNHCR.

The rescued refugees last week included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and other West Africans. The boats have mostly left from Libya, where many women said the smugglers had beaten and raped them.

On Friday, an Italian Navy ship collected 45 bodies and rescued 135 people from a semi-submerged rubber boat, which normally carries about 300.

David Israel

Report: Police Recommend Indicting Sara Netanyahu over PM’s Residence Charges

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Police on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minster Netanyahu’s wife Sara over the case of the PM’s residences, Israeli media reported. Police say they have evidentiary foundation to indict three individuals involved in the case: Sara Netanyahu, the Deputy Director of the Prime Minister’s office Ezra Saidoff, and Avi Fahima, an electrician who allegedly was ordered to work on Yom Kippur in the PM’s private residence in Caesarea.

So far, despite the media reports, the police official statement on Sunday did not clearly mention the evidentiary foundation for an indictment against the three suspects. Rather it announced that “the National Unit of Israel Police has concluded its investigation of the case of the prime minister’s residences. The case was opened in February 2015, with the approval of the attorney general and state prosecutor, and focused on several topics regarding which there was suspicion of criminal violations. These included suspected fraud, fraud, and breach of trust, as well as examining mutual complaints. By the end of the investigation, all the alleged evidence, the findings and insights gathered during the police inquiry were handed over to the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office—which has been following the investigation—for reference and decision.”

The State Comptroller’s report for 2009-2013 found that Sara Netanyahu had invited Fahima to carry out electric works in her Caesarea private home on the weekends, when the rates are higher. The comptroller’s report showed that for three straight months Fahima was called on almost every weekend to do the repair work, including on Yom Kippur, which is the one day during the year when almost all of Israel’s Jews refrain from work.

Last July, the investigation of the comptrollers’ findings turned criminal, and two months later Saidoff was interrogated for ten hours in the offices of police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433. Saidoff is suspected of hiring Fahima because he is a member of the Likud party, and of ordering work for him after being told not to.

Last December, Sara Netanyahu was interrogated by the same anti-corruption unit about the use of the electrician on weekends and on Yom Kippur, as well as regarding using public funds to purchase of patio furniture and other equipment for the Netanyahus’ Caesarea private home.

JNi.Media

New Report: 22 Israeli Academics in the Service of BDS

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

In recent years, an increasing number of academics and student organizations throughout the world have been promoting the academic boycott of Israel. The goal of this boycott is to halt the cooperation between Israeli academics and academics abroad, an act that would cause significant harm to Israeli research as it heavily relies on international cooperation. This phenomenon could pose severe implications on the Israeli economy, and would significantly harm Israel’s standing in the world.

A new report from Im Tirtzu reveals the level of involvement of Israeli academics in the encouragement and promotion of the international effort to impose an academic boycott on Israel. The report focuses on the Israeli Anthropological Association as a case study that reflects the significant influence of Israeli academics in promoting the academic boycott on Israel. The report highlights how prominent Israeli professors, who receive salaries provided by the Israeli taxpayer, encourage, legitimize, and often promote boycott efforts, including boycotts that directly harm the institutions in which they work. It is important to note that a 2012 resolution passed by the Israeli Council for Higher Education explicitly rejects boycott efforts:

“The Council for Higher Education views the call for academic boycott on Israel by members of Israel’s institutions of higher education as an undermining action to the foundations of Israel’s higher education system” and thus “calls on institutions to consider the matter, and to formulate ways of dealing with it.”

As stated above, this report focuses on the Israeli Anthropological Association as a case study and examines its involvement with the advancement of the academic boycott on Israel, which began to intensify in 2013 after the American Anthropological Association (AAA) began to discuss the possibility of boycotting Israeli academia.

On May 31, 2016, the 10,000-member AAA will conclude its vote on a proposed resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions, regardless of where the institution is located within Israel.

The Israeli Anthropological Association has sent a letter to the AAA in August 2014 advocating against this anti-Israel initiative and calling it an unprecedented and unjustified act of boycott against Israeli academia. But while the Israeli Anthropological Association was trying to block this attempt to harm the State of Israel, another group of 20 Israeli anthropologists, many of whom teach in publicly funded Israeli institutions, sent a petition to the AAA praising this effort and urging them to continue pressing for an academic boycott on Israel. These professors grant legitimacy to the academic boycott of Israel, and to the BDS movement against Israel as a whole.

In 2015, a task force sent by the AAA to “investigate” the situation in Israel produced a biased report filled with distortions and lies against Israel. The report repeatedly quoted anonymous Israeli academics as a means of attaining legitimacy to the baseless accusations raised in the report. These Israeli academics served as the “voice from within” who “verified” all of the anti-Israel charges in the report.

Several months prior to the publication of the report in July 2015, the Israeli Anthropological Association sent another letter in which they demonstrated a complete capitulation to the amounting boycott pressure. This letter condemned and severely criticized Israel for its prolonged “occupation,” urged Israel to rehabilitate Gaza, and called for a solution for the Palestinian refugees. At the end of the letter, however, they once again urged their colleagues at the AAA to refrain from academic boycott.

Like clockwork, this second letter by the Israeli Anthropological Association was also followed by another letter – this time from a group of 22 “anonymous” Israeli anthropologists – that contained an unequivocal call for academic boycott against Israel:

“We urge all members of the AAA to join in supporting the academic boycott resolution on the spring ballot.”

Im Tirtzu’s report emphasizes that all the Israeli signatories on the first petition sent to the AAA in attempt to foil the Israeli Anthropological Association’s effort to halt the boycott are activists in radical Left organizations, which are backed by copious amounts of foreign political funding and operate within Israel against the state and against the soldiers of the IDF.

In addition, the report notes that most of the Israeli signatories do not currently reside in Israel, and the vast majority of them are directly connected to other foreign agent organizations or to the international BDS movement. These facts substantiate the claim that Israeli organizations and individuals represent the head of the spear of the BDS phenomenon and often produce the initial efforts to boycott Israel.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg stressed that the phenomenon in which a radical minority operates from within Israel in order to impose international pressure on Israel is not merely a display of ungratefulness, but an act of shamelessness. The challenge posed by the advancement of boycotts from within forces decision-makers to formulate a fitting response to this phenomenon: “Decision-makers and presidents of Israeli universities look to combat the international BDS movement, but completely ignore the boycott phenomenon from within Israel that is being led by Israeli academics. It is sad to see that those leading the boycott are cutting off the branch on which they are sitting and are working behind the scenes in order to mortally wound the future of Israeli academia.”

Peleg added that “The BDS movement is driven by blind hatred towards the State of Israel and is equipped with tremendous resources. Faced with the consistent attempt to harm the Israeli public, we as citizens need to mobilize against it. The State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only country in the region that preserves human and civil rights.”

Peleg stated that “The Im Tirtzu movement will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to fight against this theater of the absurd in which Israeli academics are playing the leading role.”

JNi.Media

Report: Shaked to Fight Israelis Who Download Pirated Content

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is in the advanced stages of preparing a government bill that would compel Internet providers to reveal which users are downloading pirated content, The Marker reported Wednesday. The content providers would then be able to sue home users for copyright infringement.

11 major Israeli content providers who formed the organization Zira (Hebrew acronym for Internet copyrights) have been complaining that existing laws are limiting their ability to stop distribution of pirated content, because today they can only effectively bring to justice providers who operate inside Israel, while enormous distribution resources are available online but off-shore.

Current Israeli law does recognize certain private downloads as copyright infringements, but to date Internet providers are not obligated to reveal information about their customers. According to The Marker, content providers in the US and in several other countries have been allowed by new legislation to force Internet providers to turn in clients who download illegally, and have sued them successfully.

In 2011 the Knesset passed in a first reading a law that combined compelling Internet providers to expose clients who download illegally as well as clients who are accused of spreading libel online. But the bill did not survive the committee deliberations and was put on hold.

Shaked would like the new version to focus on illegal downloads alone, which would mean that even if a user is downloading pirated content from abroad, they can be sued over it in Israel.

Attorney Jonathan Klinger is a fierce opponent of the proposed legislation. “This is a significant and severe violation of the privacy of citizens, as Internet providers would be demanded to expose private information about users,” he told The Marker. He cited similar litigated cases in the US, where, he said, content providers have had to spend as much as $1,000 on litigation to collect $1. “They’ve invested in expensive technologies to prevent infringement but to no avail. In Germany there’s a little more enforcement, but there, too, you don’t really see lawsuits, it’s more like sanctions by the Internet providers.”

Klinger believes the solution is in new models of distribution. The problem is that content providers have yet to change their archaic business model, which is why they require laws to protect them. He noted that wherevr content providers have used creative business models that came from an understanding of the product and the end users, there is no piracy.

“Unauthorized downloads happen when the content copyright holders won’t allow people to enjoy it. They should look for new, creative models.”

JNi.Media

Report: US Using Foreign Aid to Damage Israel’s Military Industry

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

The security agreement between the US and Israel is yet to be signed, and as time goes by it appears that the Americans are in no hurry to complete the deal, Walla reported on Tuesday. Sources at the defense ministry who expected the US aid package to be agreed on by the Passover holiday are seeing the weeks since that target date passing by with little movement from Washington. So far, the Obama Administration has decided to increase the security aid budget to Israel above the current annual $3.2 billion, but in addition they would like to reduce the portion of the budget which may be converted from USD to shekels for IDF purchases from Israeli security manufacturers. That last part would be the most painful, with long-term consequences for Israel’s security.

As part of the US aid package in the past, Israel was allowed to convert a quarter of the money into 3 billion shekel ($786 million) for purchases from Israeli companies. The Israelis object to the American decision to bite into that part of the package, because it would result in a long-term effect on Israel’s defense budget and its military industrial complex.

A former senior defense apparatus official told Walla that “the US plan to cancel the conversion to shekels, even if it’s only a reduction, would have a significant effect on the attractiveness of the entire US security aid package.”

The aid budget offer as it stands today is far lower than Israel’s stated ambition at the start of negotiations with the US. Congressional sources have said that Israel was asking for $4 to $5 billion a year, which over the span of the deal, from 2019 to 2028, could total $50 billion — compared with $30 billion for the 2009 to 2018 package signed with President George W. Bush. The final deal will likely fall between $37.5 billion—the US position, and $40 billion—the amount Israel has come down to. Even at the minimalist, US version, Israel still receives a bump of $750 million over 10 years.

Today the US pays for $3 billion out of Israel’s $15.6 billion defense budget.

The defense source speaking to Walla said an American decision to keep the entire aid package in dollars, to be spent only with US manufacturers, could mean serious out-of-pocket costs for Israel. “For instance,” he explained, “when we purchase the F-35 from the US, it comes with additional derivatives paid for in shekels: we are expected to build an advanced infrastructure for the new squadron, as well as specialized maintenance and special takeoff lanes—for which the US budget converted part would have paid. Cutting it would directly harm the defense budget as well as the military industries.”

Incidentally, as Defense News reported in April, Israel is demanding of Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office to maximize its autonomy over its new stealth fighter force, including its own command, control, communications and computing (C4) system, indigenous weaponry and the ability to perform heavy maintenance in-country rather than at predetermined regional overhaul facilities. No other buyer has asked or received these exceptions for a system that’s considered the most advanced and secret in the US’ possession.

Brig. Gen. Tal Kalman, IAF chief of staff, told an audience in Tel Aviv this year that Israel’s “unique requirements” demand independence in maintaining the stealth fighters. Speaking on Sunday at a conference of Israel Defense and the Fisher Institute for Strategic Air and Space Studies, Kalman said the IAF is going for a “phased and coordinated process” to establish an F-35 logistics center at squadron headquarters at Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel.

JNi.Media

Report: Habayit Hayehudi to Leave Netanyahu’s Government in Six Months

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

As the Israeli media continue to generate reports about the behind the scenes hectic negotiations between Likud and the Zionist Camp (Labor) over the latter’s joining Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, Habayit Hayehudi—which stands to lose some of its key portfolios in the shuffle—is threatening to leave the coalition in six months should the threatened move take place.

But Labor is not moving in so fast, for a number of reasons: first, about a third to a half of their MKs, as well as many activists, object to joining with the very political enemy they have sworn to topple; second, Labor is leery of coming in as little more than a rubber stamp for the Netanyahu policies they oppose, without the ability to change said policies. Which is why on Friday Labor chairman Itzhak Herzog posted an ad on his Facebook page listing his conditions for joining:

Lowering the cost of living; involvement in the offshore natural gas outline; authority to act to block international boycotts (presumably by pushing the Jewish settlements under the bus); guarding the Supreme Court’s integrity (from the assaults of Habayit Hayehudi Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who is pushing to tame the hyper-activist court; eliminating “racist legislation”; starting negotiations with the countries of the region (is Syria available?); and implementing the plan to disengage from the “Palestinians.”

The ad was deleted shortly after it had been posted, probably because it was an open admission that Labor is indeed in negotiations with Netanyahu. But the content signaled a strong break to the left as the price for their joining, essentially wiping off most of Habayit Hayehudi’s chairman Naftali Bennett’s achievements so far.

According to NRG, Bennett plans to crash the Netanyahu coalition in six months, with or without Labor taking up residence in the cabinet. This is because Bennett must differentiate his party from the Likud. Last elections, Netanyahu’s message to the rightwing voter, which Bennett tacitly supported, was that it made no difference which of the two equally pro-settlements party you voted for, in the end both parties would be in government.

That generous gesture cost Habayit Hayehudi a whopping four seats, and pushed Likud up to 30 seats. This time around Bennett is determined to get those seats back, and he’d like to be able to tell his voters, simply: a vote for Netanyahu is a vote for Labor.

On Saturday night, dozens of Labor activists demonstrated outside Herzog’s home, demanding that he abandon his cabinet aspirations. The Labor youth is not enamored with the chairman, although he has brought in the highest number of Labor seats in recent memory. Herzog cannot risk a rift with the very people on whom he would later have to count to canvas voters and man local election offices for him. Or as young activist Ne’ama lazimi told NRG Saturday night, “You don’t serve Bibi, you replace him.”

JNi.Media

Report: IDF Soldiers Rescue Arab Terror Kidnap Victim in Daring Raid

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

IDF soldiers entered the Arab town of Nil’in late Sunday night to hunt down three Arabs who crossed the security fence after allegedly having kidnaped an Israeli citizen, according to the Hebrew-language ‘0404‘ news website.

Nil’in is located 17 kilometers (about 10 miles) west of Ramallah, but just a mile north of the Jewish city of Modi’in Illit. It is also very close to the 1949 Armistice Line (the so-called “Green Line”) and not far from Highway 443, where there have been numerous Arab attacks on Jews during the terror wave that began last October.

Map of Arab village of Nil'in and the Jewish city of Modi'in Illit.

It’s not clear how the infiltrators managed to get through the security fence.

The hostage was dragged into a location in the village while a mob of Arabs pelted the IDF troops with stones. Other Arabs placed rocks in the road in order to block vaccess by Israeli army vehicles.

Neither strategy was effective in stopping the IDF forces, who simply pushed through the hail of rocks and entered Ni’ilin to search for the kidnap victim.

A group of IDF soldiers were successful in tracking down the hostage and rescuing him, miraculously unharmed, while a second unit covered them with gunfire aimed at the rioting Arabs who had begun to surround the house where the captive was being held.

No details have been released about the identity of the kidnap victim or about which IDF units tracked down his captors and got him out of there alive and in one piece. All Israeli soldiers reportedly returned safely to base.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-idf-soldiers-rescue-arab-terror-kidnap-victim-in-daring-raid/2016/05/02/

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